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How Dangerous Is Daylight Savings Time for Drivers?

Posted on in Car Accident

Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

It has been several weeks since we set our clocks one hour ahead for Daylight Savings Time (DST). While many Illinois residents are enjoying that extra hour of daylight each day, many may also have felt tired after the change due to the havoc “springing forward” does to the body’s internal clock. Multiple studies have shown that this fatigue is responsible for an increase in motor vehicle accidents for the first week or two after the change. One major study found that fatal crashes increased by almost 10 percent due to the loss of an hour’s sleep. According to one of that study’s co-authors, moving the clocks ahead causes people to go through a process similar to jet lag. While this fatigue is more severe the first couple of days following the change, some people are affected by it for up to two weeks.

Study: DST Transition More Dangerous Than Previously Thought

The traffic study was conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and published its findings last year. Researchers used data from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), examining 732,835 car accidents that occurred between 1996 and 2017. The study did not include the accidents from Arizona or Indiana because DST is not consistently observed in those states.

Each year, there was a consistent spike in the number of fatal crashes during the same week of DST when the clocks move forward one hour. And if there was any doubt that the spikes each year were caused by drivers losing that extra hour, beginning in 2007, the spike occurred in March and not April. That was the year that the Energy Policy Act moved DST a month earlier, from April to March.

In the 22 years of data analyzed, approximately 625 victims died in crashes associated with the spring DST; however, the study’s researchers believe that these results greatly underestimate what the actual risk DST does present to drivers since the data only provides the most severe crashes that occur.

The study also found that the further west people live, the greater their risk is of crashing. The conclusion is that because the sun rises and sets later in the west than in the east, this leaves residents with almost 20 minutes less sleep than those who live in the east.

Contact a Larimer County Auto Accident Attorney for Help

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a fatigued driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the losses those injuries have caused. Colorado law allows victims to pursue damages against the at-fault driver. Call Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. today at 970-225-2190 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Fort Collins car accident attorneys. We will fight for your rights and help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve.  




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